Last week’s “Stats That Matter” seemed to hit quite well for folks. We saw a good amount of page views and comments. This week, we focus the narrative portion on the dreaded “analytics” word before unloading a bunch of different data points that we think are interesting.
Analytics has been an interesting word around the Cleveland Browns since Paul DePodesta and Sashi Brown joined the team. The idea that a “baseball guy” and a lawyer could run a professional football organization rubbed a lot of people, including local and national media members, the wrong way.
In the end, Brown’s time with the Browns ended (now he is the President of the Baltimore Ravens) and brought in John Dorsey a “real football guy.”
After all that happened, the word “analytics” became an evil word around the team even as DePodesta stuck around, Andrew Berry and Kevin Stefanski were brought in to work with him and analytics returned as an essential part of running the team.
Last week’s fourth-down decision brought it back up to the forefront. Thursday, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt made it clear that they are in charge on those downs:
AVP on going for it on 4th down: "I think we live and die with the analytics, whatever gives us the best chance to win the game. We will lean to being aggressive. That's just our style."— Hayden Grove (@H_Grove) October 6, 2022
"When it's green, it's green. We're going to go."
Referring to what the sheet says.
So that is where we start with stats that matter, how has the team done on fourth downs?
CLE is 7/13 on 4th down inside opp RZ (non blowouts) last 2 yrs. All 7 turned into TDs. +0.62 EPA per 4th att— Clevta (@Clevta) October 3, 2022
When they've failed opp drive results:
1 TD, 1 FG, 4 3 & out. So only 10 pts back the other way on 6 missed 4th downs & avg field position when CLE got ball back-own 39
The #Browns are tied for 6th in the league in 4th down conversion pct with 66.67%. Up from 41.38% in 2021. “Mostly died” is perception not reality. https://t.co/JHxJdlXqtd— Ryan (@ryinohio) October 6, 2022
The decision to Punt Late in 4th Considered Cowardly
CLE decided to punt to ATL from the ATL 44 on 4th & 6 with 3:44 remaining in the 4th while tied 20 to 20.— Surrender Index 90 (@surrender_idx90) October 2, 2022
With a Surrender Index of 45.67, this punt ranks at the 99.8th percentile of cowardly punts of the 2022 season, and the 99.0th percentile of all punts since 1999.
Some other stats that matter for the Browns:
Running Game Historical Early
Most Expected Points Added per Designed Rush entering Week 5, 2005-2022:— Anthony Reinhard (@reinhardNFL) October 6, 2022
1) 2010 HOU (+0.19 EPA/rush)
2) 2022 CLE (+0.18)
3) 2017 KC (+0.17)
4) 2012 SF (+0.17)
5) 2009 DAL (+0.16)
6) 2020 NE (+0.14)
7) 2007 IND (+0.13)
Defensive Tackles Not Getting the Job Done per PFF
I don't think it's the reason they're bad and PFF grades aren't gospel. But this is *really* below league average pic.twitter.com/bEkKnCq1b7— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) October 4, 2022
That Partially Leads to this Small Sample Size Stat
#Browns defense is giving up 7.83 yards per play in the fourth quarter this season. That's the most of any defense. (No other defense in the NFL is giving up more than 6.61).— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 4, 2022
Back to the Positives, Lots of Big Plays from the Offense
Most big plays through Week 4: pic.twitter.com/KmZcP4bycR— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) October 4, 2022
Jacoby Brissett Highly Rated in QBR
Updated QBR rankings:— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 3, 2022
1. Mahomes (82.4)
6. Geno (72.2)
7. Herbert (71.3)
9. Brissett (61.4)
10. Hurts (60.8)
16. Burrow (49.5)
17. Kyler (48.4)
24. Trubisky (37.0)
31. Fields (25.9)
32. Baker (15.4)
Offense Getting into the Redzone A Lot
Rate of drives to reach the red zone through four weeks...— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) October 3, 2022
KC - 45.2%
LV - 45.0%
CLE - 39.0%
PHI - 37.8%
ATL - 37.2%
LAC - 36.7%
JAX - 36.7%
DET - 35.2%
DEN - 22.7%
WAS - 21.6%
DAL - 20.0%
TB - 19.6%
CAR - 19.6%
PIT - 19.6%
HOU - 18.8%
NYG - 17.8%
Unique Group are the Top Offenses so Far This Year
The Top 5 teams in offensive EPA:— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) October 3, 2022
What even is this season?
Finally, Not All Positive, Looking at 3 Phases of the Game
#Browns now rank 5th in offensive efficiency, 28th in defensive efficiency and 14 in special teams efficiency— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) October 3, 2022
Which data points stick out to you? Besides the record book, what stats mean the most to you?